Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Gecko: 10 April 1998

The Gecko: 10 April 1998

The Gecko: 10 April 1998



One expat working on the HIV/AIDS problem says that the number of people who will

die from AIDS-related health problems this year will be about 4,000, a total more

than all AIDS deaths in Cambodia since the disease was discovered. Next year deaths

are expected to be around 6,000, surpassing the Kingdom's current #1 killer - malaria.

Meanwhile, the National AIDS Committee meets about once a year "if they are

lucky" says the expat.

** Sophal from Reuters, who was on the helicopter that crashed at Preah Vihear, lost

his shoes and was given a pair of KR sandals by the local boys. He says he likes

them, the shoes that is. However, the green-capped boys at the temple are appreciated

by somebody. Journos who spent the night there say they heard the cadre talking to

their Thai girlfriends across the border - in Thai - on their radios.

** The rumor mill is abuzz with plans for a new Mel Gibson movie that may be shot

at the airport in Kampong Chhnang. An Oz film company has apparently signed a deal

to lease the airport for what sources say is a seven-figure fee per month.

The Ozzies have been in touch with Warner Brothers but nothing concrete has been

finalized. Michelle Pfeiffer's name has come up, as has the possibility of shooting

a "Mad Max IV" at the sight.

One Hollywood insider even speculated that Mel might be considering extending his

large career by taking on a new challenge and starring in "I've Got a Lethal

Weapon II".

** Folks around town were puzzled by the one day, water shut-off last week, speculating

that the effects of El Nino had finally reached Phnom Penh. However, a meterological

analyst dismissed the rumors, stating instead that the problem was a result of the

much more localised "El Cambo" syndrome.

** Micool Brooke, who works for the Asian Defence Journal, wasn't fooling around

when he covered the return of Prince Ranariddh. Kitted out in a new, high-tech, bullet-proof

vest, Brooke was kicking off his election-related marketing campaign for the hardware,

which he guarantees will save lives. He also says that with some extra chest plating,

the vest can stop an AK-47 round at close range.

Micool wore the vest minus a shirt at Pochentong, but its unclear if this is the

recommended style. If it is, Micool may want to distribute all vests with some sun

block as his lobster-like skin made him the most visible target in town.

** If you want to find out what the plan is for the future don't miss the new publication

produced in English by the Cabinet of Samdech Hun Sen entitled "Cambodia New

Vision". To find out how to obtain the monthly publication, contact the cabinet

by email at <[email protected]> or call them at: 023-219-898.

** Sources say that high on the list of items for discussion during Samdech Hun Sen's

upcoming trip to Thailand in early May is the matter of the disputed off-shore border

with Thailand. The RGC is anxious for quick progress on the issue and hopes to sign

a Memorandum of Understanding with the Thais so that oil and gas exploration can

get underway.

Experts figure that once the green light is given, the cash-strapped Cambodian government

could reap up to $100 million per year after the gas starts to flow which would take

about two years from project start-up.

The Thais, for their part, prefer a more ja yen yen approach to ensure that all legal

issues are hammered out properly. With gas now being produced from their joint efforts

with Malaysia, a gas pipeline under construction with Myanmar and a recently-signed

deal with Vietnam, they are in no hurry to move quickly on the issue and Hun Sen

is likely to return from Bangkok minus the MOU.

** The city fathers have come up with a great idea. You know the park in front of

the palace, the one next to the Renakse Hotel with all the hundred-year-old, resplendent

trees? Well, why not pave the entire park and make a parking lot! Brilliant!

** In response to "Which party do you like?", one moto driver in town said:

"I'll vote for anyone who can finally stop the fighting and get the economy

going so I can make some money."

** A Bangkok-based, English-language paper is still confused. A story by a reporter

written about Preah Vihear temple coming back under RGC control was datelined "Khao

Preah Viharn, Thailand".

Sorry! The temple is on Cambodian soil and has been since the World Court ruled on

the dispute in 1962.

** Ambassadors are scurrying around trying to find out which ones are going to see

the King when His Majesty returns from China on April 11. But nobody wants to get

left out so there's much checking back and forth between embassies. This time, at

least, the protocol dilemma has been solved as King Sihanouk has decided that he

will grant an audience to all ambos on April 17. The official word is that the King

will not be granting any audiences before then.


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